Here Are Some Lesser Known Chevy Bolt EV Features You Might Have Missed


These are features buyers should know to make their ownership experience better

For the 2019 model year of the Chevy Volt, Chevrolet rolled out some big changes to the popular plug-in hybrid. New seats, faster charging, and an improved backup camera just to name a few. In comparison, the 2019 Chevy Bolt received far less love from the Detroit automaker. Updates for the electric hatchback are modest. Then again, production of the Bolt is not on the chopping block. So in that respect, the Bolt comes out ahead.

With the end of the year approaching, many consumers will be looking to nab an electric car before December ends. Like Tesla, Chevrolet is on the verge of the federal tax credit phase out. If you were thinking of taking home a Bolt, now is the time to do so. The Bolt is expected to have access to the full $7500 credit until at least April 1, 2019 so it is not too late to take advantage before the credit is reduced. But before you do, Antuan Goodwin of CNET’s Roadshow has a few things they think you should know about the car.

Goodwin appreciates the strong regenerative braking available on the steering wheel paddle. But if you are wanting heavy regen, he prefers the smoother experience of driving in ‘L’ to achieve similar levels of regenerative braking. When leaving park, shift the electronic shifter down once to enter ‘D’ mode that includes artificial creep. Shift down a second time to enter ‘L’ mode with full one pedal driving. Using the steering wheel paddle while in ‘L’ mode will increase your regen even further.

One area where the Bolt excels is Cargo space. Don’t be fooled by its diminutive exterior. The Bolt also has a lot more room than many people realize. Goodwin explains:

The 16.6 cubic feet of cargo volume is on par with competitors like the LEAF. But if you fold the seats flat and remove the false floor, it expands to 56.6 cubic feet. Which I think makes this the class cargo leader.

Unfortunately, the Bolt does not lead in other areas. While some basic driving assist features are available, they are severely lacking compared to competitors. Thankfully, the Driver Confidence II package is now available as an option on the LT trim however.

The MyChevrolet app has become more useful over time

One seeming downside to the Bolt is that there is no navigation built in. But you actually have several options. In addition to Apple Carplay and Android Auto being standard, Onstar turn by turn navigation is also available for a monthly fee. You can use the Onstar button in the car to request navigation, or you can use the MyChevrolet app to send a destination to your car.

Chevy Bolt EV Route Planner

Another useful feature CNET does not mention is the Energy Assist route planner. This planner lets you choose a final destination and prompts you if you will be driving out of the vehicle’s range. You can then add a charging station to your route and the MyChevrolet app will estimate the time needed at each charging station to reach the next station or your final destination. Once you have a route planned out, you can push it to maps to use with Apple Carplay or Android Auto.

The app also allows you to use your phone as a backup key. From the app, you can lock and unlock the vehicle as well as precondition the car. However, you will still need your keyfob to start the car.

These are just a few little known benefits of driving a Chevy Bolt. You can read about more 2019 updates here and here. Are there any other features you love that we or Roadshow missed? Let us know in the comment section below!


Chevrolet Bolt EVs - finding more US driveways every month!
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The introduction (and US reception) of the Chevy Bolt EV has pulled forward GM's 200,000th sale by at least a year (now expected in Q2 2018) Chevrolet Bolt at the recent GM Official autocross event near Detroit. Chevrolet Bolt EV (wallpaper 2,560x) Chevrolet Bolt EV Chevrolet Bolt EV (wallpaper 2,560x) Chevrolet Bolt EV (wallpaper 2,560x) 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Chevrolet Bolt EV The best option overall is generally to drive at normal speed Chevrolet Bolt Chevrolet Bolt Chevrolet Bolt EV Interior Chevrolet Bolt EV:  Lots of useful room inside...and a fair about of standard finishes Bolt Interior Chevy Bolt Chevrolet Bolt EV - right-hand-drive?! Chevy Bolt rear seats The rear seating area offers plenty of room for passengers Inside the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt

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70 Comments on "Here Are Some Lesser Known Chevy Bolt EV Features You Might Have Missed"

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Great car but as GM decided not to build a RHD model and Worldwide sales were low.
GM could have doubled the global sales, if they wanted too.

If you lose money on each car, doubling sales just means doubling your losses.

GM don’t build much RHD model anymore, gas or electric.

GM sold its European operations (Opel/Vauxhall) to Peugeot/Citroen.

Will the Bolt is certainly not a “Tesla killer “ it does show GM can still make a relevant vehicle. Too bad the dealer network refuses to sell it.

Reading these discussions, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to get a bunch of the regulars here together in a bar so we could debate some things in real time. One of the more interesting topics would be how much various factors hurt the Bolt — GM’s non-existent marketing, the unenthusiastic (to say the least) dealers, the car itself.

(I’d put the blame 30% on the lack of ads, 50% on the dealers, and 20% on the car. GM did a lot right with the design of the Bolt, but its size and shape, plus the “little things” like the iffy seats, the lack of GPS, and the weird swoopy light gray plastic on the dash definitely turned off some buyers.)

The goofy name, ask Nissan, the “Stanza” became the “Altima” and sales went through the roof.

I think the looks of the car hold it back more than anything else. Car buyers can be very superficial. They should have gone with more of a hot hatch aesthetic like a Golf instead of the utilitarian micro minivan shape that doesn’t sell well in the US. Honda only sells around 50k Fits a year here, and it is way cheaper than the Bolt.

Not the looks. It’s the brand. If Bolt is wearing a Tesla badge and priced like now ($25K post subsidy), there won’t be any sitting on dealer lots like it is today. In fact, way over 400,000 of them would be “reserved” for many years if not decades.

LOL, there is WAY more that separates the Bolt and the Model 3 than just the badge.

True. Average Bolt costs roughly half of average Tesla 3 cost. And that’s why Bolt wearing Tesla badge would’ve generated so much demand.

Tesla badge would not make it look any less like a minivan.

Model X is the most ugly and overpriced and space cramped minivan on the planet. But it is darn fast and sells just fine.

FAR FAR more people share my opinion of the aesthetics of the Bolt than share your opinion of the X. I’ve actually never once met anyone who thinks the Bolt looks good.

We like our Bolt and our Model X, thank you. When the lease is up on the Bolt (2020) we will be looking to get into something with at least adaptive cruise control and more comfortable seats. Kia Niro EV may be the ticket. Or, maybe a Model Y. If I could find the money though — the Rivian SUV or pickup would be great. We plan on keeping the X for a long long time. It’s how we pull our camp trailer.

I disagree. I love my 2017 Bolt, except for the seats, and the display.

Having said that, it isn’t easy to plan long trips (although I may just be ignorant about a good method).

The ride is great, and we feel relaxed even after getting stuck in traffic.

On the other hand, the handling does not feel inspiring. It is fine, and the car is fine, but it isn’t passion-inducing.

It is a great nerd’s ream car, but not an enthusiasts car.

It’s more a numbers/resume car than an emotional car.

For us, though, bottom line, I will consider buying out the lease in a year if they give a good enough price (unlikely).

I agree, Shaun. The first impression is “cheap Chevy compact”. I think the car is fairly decent, though it could use a faster max charge rate. But I think a lot of people look at the swoopy lines and think “clown car”.
Combine that with Chevy’s dismal reputation for small cars and you have a recipe for sales mediocrity.

It’s 48% the car, 48% the brand. Bolt competes in the economy hatch space against Honda Fit, Kia Soul, etc. but it costs twice as much.

Look at the guy on Autoline the other day. He loves the Model 3 performance and features and he wanted to “be part of” the Tesla phenomenon (people lining up to reserve cars, first new US car company in decades, etc.).

He had to go out of state to buy his model 3! That’s about as inconvenient as you get. Same story here in TX, where you have to pay in full before you ever even see your car. Who does that? Thousands of Tesla buyers, that’s who. Buying a Bolt from one of several local dealers who compete for your business is a walk in the park by comparison.

Create a compelling car and brand and people will jump through hoops to get it. Build a $40k Fit knockoff with a Chevy badge and it won’t matter how you sell it or how much you advertise it.

Get with the program. Bolt is going for $33K on average pre subsidy (or $25K post fed). Meanwhile, Tesla 3 average transaction price is above $50K and post subsidy price is almost double that of Bolt. Gap will widen in Jan when Tesla only qualify for half the tax credit.

And if you think Bolt competes against Fit and Soul, you must think Tesla 3 competes against Corolla and Civic. If Bolt is $40K Fit knockoff, Tesla 3 is $60K Civic knockoff.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

GM could have made the Bolt like what is normal, modern vehicle with a $37.5k MSRP, but chose not to do so. The narrow seats and lack of available ACC is going to put people off.

You mean just like Tesla is making normal modern vehicle for $35K? Oh that’s right, there isn’t $35K Tesla of any kind. And if GM made ACC for $45K like Tesla, people will be screaming how it’s overpriced (which it would be).

LMAO, the Bolt has a lot more in common with a Fit than a Model 3 has with a Civic. I realize you are attempting to be hyperbolic, but even as hyperbole that statement is ridiculous. Your consternation might make more sense if there was a premium compact hatchback market in the US like there is in Europe, but that just doesn’t exist here.

You’re equating Fit exterior (hatch) vs Bolt. If you’re sticking to the same, Tesla 3 (sedan) is nothing more than Civic. What’s ridiculous is equating Bolt to Fit in the first place, then turn around and say Tesla 3 is not a sedan.

As for premium compact hatch, you mean like GTI and Focus ST? Yeah, that’s precisely what I compare to Bolt (~$25K), not Fit and Soul.

No, the Bolt does not compete with the hot hatches you describe, but it should have, which is exactly the argument I’ve been making above. GM instead decided to design it more as a utilitarian compact hatch, hence the comparisons to the Fit and Nissan Versa. Of course the looks aren’t the only reason it doesn’t compete with the hot hatches. The awful beam axle rear suspension keeps it out of that realm, and is something else it shares with it’s economy hatchback counterparts. The Model 3 is aimed squarely at the German mid-sized sport sedan segment. Nobody but you is attempting to make the Civic comparison.

As someone who cross-shopped the Bolt and the GTI, and was pretty sure he’d be getting a GTI but went for the Bolt because it’s way more fun to drive and vastly more pleasant overall, I can say, yeah, you can compare the two and the Bolt comes out on top.

That doesn’t change how it looks, nor does your personal anecdotal experience change the inherent drawbacks and cheapness of a beam axle. I bring these things up because of how they shape buyer perception, and therefore sales numbers. I’m happy that you are pleased with your purchase though.

You are correct about the looks limiting its appeal. It took me a long time to get over that and I still feel a little self-conscious driving it. Ultimately I decided that it was just too much fun and too much of a bargain to pass up.

And the looks are growing in me. It actually seems like a lot of care went into the design. Electric cars don’t really need a hood. What are you going to do? They want to look like a Bolt.

Normally I find Tesla’s just gorgeous, but I must say that I saw a black model 3 in need of a wash the other day and it looked pretty crappy. And small.

Premium Bolts are still going for over $40K in my area (Ohio). I compared that to the Mid Range Model 3 at $46K (47.5 with my upgraded MSM paint), and decided to go with Tesla. I got better looks, better performance, better range, better seats, and better technology.

Bolt will get an additional $3750 price advantage for Q1, however.

You’re comparing high priced premium, non negotiated Bolt price to cheapest Tesla 3. Better to compare base to base, and Bolt is about $32K ($25K post subsidy) and Tesla 3 is still $46K ($39K post subsidy).

Base ,$35K Model 3 isn’t available.

“Premium Bolts are still going for over $40K in my area (Ohio).”

BS, use Costco purchase program then. It is easily discounted to $37K.

Model 3 MR starts at $37K! without any of the options. Paint cost more.

Don’t forget you have a reliable charger on many road trips via the TSC.Once Tesla decides on a chAdemo,or maybe a CSE adaptor,the Model 3 will offer even more road trip options.GM couldn’t be bothered to even provide reliable DC charging, using dealerships. Bolt EV,not having ACC was a poor decision given it has the sensor,and camera. Aesthetically, exterior wise, I don’t mind it,even though many find it FUGLY.Lesser known Bolt feature, there’s OTA, GM doesn’t use it to improve the user experience. The 2019 Bolt EV apparently has ACC.Interior design,if Hyundai , Toyota can make their low to mid tier interiors with soft touch materials,and decent seats.GM could have done better, a premier is ~ $40-48K EV in N.Am.pre tax breaks, incentives. Our X is updated while we sleep, charging without issue on road trips.The Bolt is left at home because we don’t trust the spotty public network.

This idea that the Bolt is a $40k car is a fiction that people really need to stop repeating.

Sticker on mine was $40k, negotiated to $35k, $28k after fed rebate, plus $1200 for charging port at home, equals <$30k total. Will save $1000/year over any comparable ICE car (GTI, for example), So really a $25k car over 5 years.

Don’t compare to slow economy cars because the Bolt is a blast to drive and has one-pedal driving and is as smooth and quiet as a Mercedes. Well worth the small premium over a Fit or the like.

Agree that the fiction of $40K Bolt need to stop. If you go to Electrek, there are many Bolts on sale for $32K. Apply the tax credit, and it’s $25K without even considering gas savings.

It gets compared to cars like the Fit because it shares an overall form factor, along with other design compromises such as a beam axle rear suspension.

It does share many aspects with a Fit, and it’s only a few grand more over 5 years of ownership, but it’s really more like the worlds smoothest and quietest hot hatch that also happens to have the extremely satisfying one-pedal-driving option.

Admittedly, the suspension is basic, but the low center of gravity and aggressive regen more than make up for that, in my opinion.

The problem is it doesn’t look like a hot hatch, so it fundamentally limits buyer appeal and sales potential. Sacrificing some practicality for sex appeal would have improved sales considerably.

Tesla Model 3 has about the same interior passenger volume as a Toyota Corolla. The only thing is better is the performance and brand image which gives the price premium.

Bolt beats the pants off Fit and Soul in performance. So, why don’t it have the same following? Lack of brand image which is often a bunch of BS. Marketing people love to “create brand images”.

Tesla is the BEST MARKETING company in the world. Elon is a genius in that aspect. That is why it works.

GM has “NEVER” been the best marketing company, it fails model after model, brand after brand.

Wrong. Its because what is desirable to the US market. The tall minivan shaped hatchback style is not popular here. Even among popular brands such as Honda. It has little to nothing to do with the badge.

For me, the Bolt is just too small. I wouldn’t feel safe putting my family in it. I would gladly sacrifice some range for a larger car.

Then, a Niro or Kona is too small for you?

That is a valid argument, but the Bolt is a top safety pick, and as someone who hit an adult doe (150 lbs) at 55 mph I can attest to the sturdiness of the car. I hit the deer head-on. Caused $9500 worth of damage to body panels, lights, and the charging port only. Zero structural damage.

It did take 9 weeks to get the repair done, though due to a few parts being difficult to get.

How long did it take for the doe to complete its repairs?

Size doesn’t matter [insert dirty joke] nearly as much these days when it comes to crash safety. Check the crash safety ratings and watch the impact testing videos… and even back in the day when “size” mattered more between two items on a collision course, what actually mattered was weight (mass) and EVs have the mass thing going for them.

A Bolt weighs over 1,000 lbs more than a Honda Fit. A TM3 LR weighs about as much as a base model F-150.

I feel totally safe putting our family in it. Crash test ratings, rear-view camera, back-up warning system, safest thing we’ve ever driven. But I get that it doesn’t look HUGE or at all TOUGH so I guess everyone has their own criteria.

The Bolt is very good on the safety front. I was rear-ended pretty hard by a guy in a ’94 Dodge Dakota pickup truck. His truck took about as much damage as the rear door and bumper of my Bolt, and it’s a much bigger vehicle. Dented the back hatch door and crushed part of the rear bumper, but didn’t break the rear window. The back hatch door is aluminum and quite sturdy considering the hit it took.

Expensive to repair, but body work always is. And the other guy’s liability is covering everything as it should, at least so far. He was in a big hurry and following way too close. Way too many people like that these days.

A lot of the larger cars (SUVs and pickups) don’t have to meet the tough safety standards passenger vehicles do. Also, a lot of them have a high center of gravity. Feel safe because they’re big, but easy to roll over in a crash. You’ll never have that problem in an EV with a battery in the floor.

Lack of GPS? It has android auto and apple car play, both give you an interface that is leaps and bounds better than any car manufacturer’s GPS (with the exception of Tesla). And you get continuous updates to the maps unlike the hard drive or disc based maps.

Head out of mobile carrier range, smartphone map is gone. Android v.8 doesn’t work with Android Auto,one year issue. Not a desirable situation when you don’t know where you are,and it’s pitch black

I considered one but thought the inside looked (and felt) cheap, like a bottom-of-the-line econobox. I ended up buying a i3 CPO. To me, the i3 has been the absolute perfect car for commuting (if your commute isn’t too long) and running errands. My family had bad experiences with Chevy products in the past, but given all the positive comments I heard from Chevy Volt owners, I was willing to give Chevy a try. Until I sat in the the Bolt…

Don’t know what you are talking about. Here in San Jose, you throw a stick in the air you stand a good chance of hitting a Bolt. There is one in the local showroom. If your local dealer does not want to sell one, go to the next town over.

In the states outside of California and maybe some other few states, the dealerships and GM Financial don’t pass $7,500 to the customers on a lease. That bumps a monthly payment above $500.00 and makes the Chevy Bolt EV very expensive for what you get.

It is my first hand experience. My household is leasing 2 Bolt EVs.

Maybe not for lease, but they’ll pass it on after lease since there’s no way they’ll compete against other EV at non-subsidy based used EV pricing.

I demand ventillated/cooled seats. Bolt doesn’t offer it, but Kia Niro and Hyundai Kona will!

Android drive is fussy and buggy. My recommendation is use a map on your cellphone (google maps, waze, etc), then use a cell phone mount. Even some Tesla drivers use Waze as backup.

Buy an iPhone.

Yes. I use the Apple Carplay and love it. It works pretty good. I have zero interest in built in navigation and pay to update databases.

$99 to update my Volt maps. Nope, should be free, Carplay works just fine.

Tesla updates are free and over wifi

We downloaded our Audi map updates for free onto the SD… install via Audi data port . Go to the dealership,and pay ~ $200.

Android Auto works fine for me.

We love our Bolt. We traded in our 14 Volt because we needed a vehicle that seats 4 and can store a wheelchair. At 33,000 no other electric vehicle came close. If they improve the seats and charging speed it would be perfect.

Thanks Wade for the nice read and for the interesting information.

There’re definitely too many Big-Experts giving reviews of these cars:

This particular one didn’t know that the amount of dynamic braking (regeneration, recouperation, etc) greatly increases by using “L” and the paddle simultaneously. If he drove the car for 5 minutes he would realize that.

It makes the car so much easier to drive – of course, with only 2 tires braking the entire car it does tend to skid on wet/icy pavement so that is another thing to keep in mind. Sometimes for safety its better to use the 4 wheel friction brakes.

I like hatchbacks, I don’t care about a live axle vs independent rear suspension (historically live axle suspension intruded less on the interior space. I can usually make my rear end fit into any seat.
However, I really like the ACC on my wife’s Volt. I won’t buy another car without it. I fail to see what about the Bolt-EV prevents GM from installing the Volt ACC with minimal if any modification.

Trump just said that GM decision to switch to electric cars is not going to work.
Maybe Bob Lutz is available for the Chief of Staff position, two old backward thinking dinosaurs.

“Trump just said that GM decision to switch to electric cars is not going to work.”

He may be right because EV buyers hate GM.

If Trump were right it would be a first. I don’t know why EV buyers would hate GM. I definitely favor Tesla but I also want GM to succeed. After all it’s an American company why wouldn’t Americans not want it to succeed.

I leased a 2017 Bolt since early July 2017 for three years and 4500 miles It now has 31700 miles. I leased a 2012 Leaf for two years and have a Myers NMG as well. I prefer small hatchbacks so the Bolt is a good choice until the Tesla Y is available. I really like the acceleration, quiet, and one pedal driving. The front seats draw comments often but I was surprised that it was more comfortable than expected even on two trips from Manassas to Richmond VA. The luggage area is two inches short so standard carry on suitcases must be turned sideways limiting it to two unless the luggage area shield is removed. The seats fold flat but the front right seat head rest can’t be removed so 8’ long items don’t fit as well as in the Leaf or Prius. After a battery issue the first week and 137 miles was resolved, the car has been absolutely trouble free. In the summer my range is typically 230-250 miles. On the coldest days (below 0 F) I have started with 147 miles range as I keep temp set at 72 F on auto year round. I drive in… Read more »

Hill Start Assist ( automatically keeps you from rolling on a hill without using the brake) and Surround Vision Cameras (shows you a bird’s-eye view as if a camera is above your car, very helpful pulling into and out of parking spaces).

Oh, and the acceleration. And the fact that I usually don’t use the brake pedal even once on my 45 mile commute. And the feeling of being on a magic carpet.